Astronauts discover an ancient heart-shaped oasis in Egypt, just in time for Valentine’s Day


104
The oasis lies below the Nile (marked in this NASA image).

Astronauts discover an ancient heart-shaped oasis in Egypt, just in time for Valentine’s Day

💕

Last May, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) soared 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth, looking down at our planet and seeing a blooming heart-shaped oasis in the Egyptian desert. Today (February 14), our friends in space are sharing this striking image as a special Valentine’s Day for the entire planet, courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory website.

The desert center, known as the Fayoum Oasis, is actually a vast wetland basin spanning more than 450 square miles (1,200 square kilometers)—about one and a half times the size of New York City’s five boroughs. While it may be nowhere near the Big Apple today, the oasis has supported human life for about 8,000 years and was the staging ground for some of the most ambitious engineering feats in ancient history, according to NASA.

This oasis is fed by the Bahr Yussef, a natural channel of the nearby Nile, which was once a sparkling lake called Lake Morris. According to the University College London (UCL) Department of Geography, the lake’s existence depends on the seasonal flooding of the Nile. When the Nile flooded too low, ancient Egyptian rulers sometimes took bold steps. Evidence suggests that a particularly severe water shortage was addressed head-on by a series of pharaohs living around 4,000 years ago who manually returned water to the area by expanding the Bahr Yussef.

The oasis lies below the Nile (marked in this NASA image). (Image credit: NASA)

“This is one of the first large-scale national hydrological projects in the world,” according to the UCL website. “The 12th Dynasty kings in charge were Amenemhat I-III, who received the title ‘Engineering Kings’.”

Today, this ancient lake exists as the much smaller Karon Lake (located below the heart in the NASA image). Thanks to these ancient works, the rest of Old Morris’ expansive lakebed remains a fertile oasis, supporting many villages, towns, farms and orchards – and you (and the astronauts) can play in the grey patches that make up the oasis. see their hearts in the image above.

Therefore, we thank the ancient pharaohs for this geographic Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope their hearts are still where they should be.

Originally published on Live Science.

Sharing is caring 👋 don’t forget to share this post on Pinterest !


Like it? Share with your friends!

104